ITHACA, N.Y. –– Ithaca joins the ranks of several other cities that pressured J.P. Morgan Chase to reduce their contribution to climate change –– and won.
Chase bank has responded to national environmentalist protests, including those in downtown Ithaca earlier this month, by announcing a commitment to reduce their funding of fossil fuels.
“In 2017, JPMorgan Chase made two sustainability commitments: facilitate $200 billion in clean financing by 2025 and source renewable energy for 100 percent of its global power needs by 2020. Both of these goals are expected to be reached by the end of 2020. Now, JPMorgan Chase is taking additional steps to address climate change and further promote sustainable development,” the company said in a statement.
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The company also said it will stop backing extraction projects in the Arctic and phase out loans for coal by 2024. However, they will continue funding other oil and gas projects indefinitely.
“Even if Chase follows through on its announcement –– which will only happen if we maintain public pressure –– it will still remain the world’s largest funder of the climate-destroying fossil fuel industry. So I take Monday’s announcement as a hopeful sign that a huge nonviolent movement can change the behavior of an institution that is committed to profiteering even at the expense of the future of our species. But it is not a sign of corporate virtue on Chase’s part, or anything like a final victory for the climate movement,” Ithaca XR’s Todd Saddler said in a statement.
Actions in Ithaca spanned two days, Wednesday, Feb. 12 and Thursday, Feb. 13, during which traffic was blocked on Green and Cayuga Streets for over an hour Wednesday morning and Chase bank was occupied both days, causing the branch to close for most of the day on Thursday, resulting in a dozen arrests.
Activists, of which 8 were charged with Criminal Trespass (the other four arrested were minors and were released to their parents), ultimately had charges dropped in Ithaca City court Wednesday.
Extinction Rebellion activists arrested inside the lobby were Debbie Pittman, Sabrina Johnston, Ellen Grady, Todd Saddler, Art Weaver, Alex, and John Burger. The high school students who were detained are Maya Soto, an indigenous student from the Ara’o’cibaniku Maisi Yukayeke Guani tribal band, Clara Swartwout, Alana Craib and Adina Wilensky.
You can read J.P. Morgan Chase’s entire announcement below.
JPMorgan Chase Expands Commitment to Low-Carbon Economy and Clean Energy Transition to Advance Sustainable Development Goals
- Facilitating $200 billion in 2020 for transactions that support climate action and efforts to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
- Supporting market-based policy solutions to address climate change and protect consumers
- Expanding restrictions on financing for coal mining and coal-fired power, and prohibiting project financing for new oil and gas development in the Arctic
- Enhancing J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s investment stewardship process, joining Climate Action 100+
- Expanding deployment of renewable energy in our operations
Financing Clean Energy and Sustainable Development
This year, JPMorgan Chase commits to facilitate $200 billion to advance the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including $50 billion toward green initiatives that also fulfill the 2017 clean financing target. This new commitment is intended to address a broader set of challenges in the developing world and developed countries where social and economic development gaps persist. These efforts will be focused on the following objectives:
- Green: Supporting climate action, clean water and waste management;
- Social: Increasing access to housing, education and healthcare; and
- Economic Development: Advancing infrastructure, innovation and growth.
The firm aims to increase its sustainable development financing commitment each year. To support the $200 billion effort, the firm is expanding its capacity and capabilities by:
- Launching the J.P. Morgan Development Finance Institution, which focuses on scaling up finance for developing countries;
- Establishing an Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) Solutions group to advise clients on reducing their carbon emissions and respond to increased interest in ESG investing;
- Assembling a new Energy Transition Team to provide strategic and financial advice to corporate clients on M&A transactions that support their carbon optimization objectives; and
- Investing in ESG expertise, including publishing ESG research and creating ESG fixed income indices.
Supporting Climate Policy Solutions
- JPMorgan Chase has joined the Climate Leadership Council, a group promoting a bipartisan roadmap for a revenue-neutral carbon tax-and-dividend framework for the United States; and
- The firm is working with Business Roundtable and other trade organizations on market-based policy solutions to address climate change, drive clean energy innovation and protect underserved communities.
Facilitating the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy
To support the market demand for and transition to cleaner sources of energy, the firm is expanding financing restrictions on certain activities to include:
- Not providing lending, capital markets or advisory services to companies deriving the majority of their revenues from the extraction of coal, and by 2024, phasing out remaining credit exposure to such companies;
- Not providing project financing or other forms of asset-specific financing where the proceeds will be used to develop a new, or refinance an existing, coal-fired power plant, unless it is utilizing carbon capture and sequestration technology; and
- Not providing project financing or other forms of asset-specific financing where the proceeds will be used for new oil and gas development in the Arctic.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management is:
- Enhancing its investment stewardship process to increase its engagement with companies around five priorities, including climate change;
- Utilizing data science to develop a proprietary ESG scoring framework; and
- Becoming a signatory to Climate Action 100+.